Finalists in Germany’s Deutsche Eishockey Liga over the past two seasons, Kolner Haie are looking for their first championship since 2001-02 this upcoming season. Ontario Hockey League grad Jamie Johnson joins three other OHL alumni with the Sharks. Johnson moves over from the KHL while Chris Minard, Charlie Stephens and John Tripp are all returning members. There’s an Oshawa Generals connection with Johnson, Minard and Tripp spending at least parts of their OHL careers with the Gens.
Johnson played four years in the OHL from 1999-00 to 2002-03 with the Sarnia Sting and Oshawa Generals. Jamie was drafted by the Ottawa 67’s at the 1999 OHL Priority Selection, 95th overall. He was traded to the Generals nine games into the 2000-01 season. In 2002-03, Johnson’s 76 assists placed him second in the OHL behind Corey Locke of the 67’s. His 100 points tied him for fifth with Kyle Wellwood of the Windsor Spitfires in the race for the Eddie Powers Trophy.
Undrafted to the National Hockey League, Johnson has played pro hockey since 2003-04 in the ECHL, AHL, Finland’s Liiga and the KHL. In 2013-14, he appeared in eight games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL and 12 regular season games with Dinamo Riga in the KHL. Jamie also played two playoff games for Riga. Johnson is signed with Kolner Haie through the 2014-15 season.
Minard played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997-98 to 2001-02 with the Owen Sound Attack, Toronto Majors and Oshawa Generals. The Attack selected him ninth overall at the 1998 OHL Priority Selection. Chris was a deadline deal to the Majors in 1999-00 and a deadline deal to the Generals in 2000-01. Minard and Jamie Johnson were teammates with Oshawa for the last half of 2000-01 and all of 2001-02.
Also undrafted to the NHL, Minard has played pro hockey since 2002-03 in the ECHL, CHL, AHL, NHL and DEL. Chris played 40 games in the NHL between 2007-08 and 2009-10 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Edmonton Oilers. Minard is signed with Koln through 2014-15.
Stephens played five years in the OHL from 1997-98 to 2001-02 with the Toronto Majors, Guelph Storm and London Knights. Charlie was the first overall pick by the Majors at the 1997 OHL Priority Selection. In 2000-01, he was the team captain for the Guelph Storm.
Charlie entered the NHL Entry Draft twice. In 1999, the Washington Capitals took him in the second round, 31st overall. Two years later, in 2001, the Colorado Avalanche made him a sixth round pick, 196th overall. His first pro action came in the form of a single Calder Cup playoff game in the American Hockey League with the Hershey Bears in 2001-02 after the Knights were eliminated from Robertson Cup playoff contention.
Stephens has been a full-time pro since 2002-03 in the NHL, AHL, UHL and DEL. He played two games for the Colorado Avalanche in 2002-03 and six more with Colorado in the following season. Charlie has played in the DEL since 2006-07 and has been with Kolner Haie since 2011-12. He is signed through 2014-15.
Tripp played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 1994-95 and 1996-97, all with the Oshawa Generals. Undrafted to the OHL, like Charlie Stephens, Tripp entered the NHL Entry Draft twice. In 1995, John was taken in the third round by the Colorado Avalanche, 77th overall. In 1997, it was the Calgary Flames taking him in the second round, 42nd overall. He played nine games with the New York Rangers in 2002-03 and 34 with the Los Angeles Kings in 2003-04.
John has played pro hockey since 1997-98 in the AHL, ECHL, IHL, NHL and DEL. He has been in the DEL since 2004-05 and has played with Kolner Haie since 2010-11. Transplanted from Canada, Tripp has played for Germany at the IIHF World Hockey Championships on six occasions between 2007 and 2013. He competed for Germany at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Tripp is signed through 2014-15.
The team is coached by former NHLer Uwe Krupp. Kolner Haie entered the DEL for the 1994-95 season and won the playoff championship in that first year. That and 2001-02 are the only two times the team has won the championship. Kolner has been finalists six times, including the past two DEL seasons. They have missed the post season just once, in 2008-09.
Kolner Haie play home games at Laxness Arena in Koln (Cologne), Germany. The venue seats 18,500 and opened for business in 1998.